Students Meet the MESSENGER
APL's Elliot Rodberg answers
questions from middle school students as they look in on
the MESSENGER spacecraft during the Oct. 10 Space Academy
event at APL.
The Space Academy series — sponsored by
APL, Comcast Cable and
Discovery Networks — takes students behind the scenes
of APL space missions and introduces them to the engineers
and scientists who run the projects. The day's event
focused on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment,
GEochemistry and Ranging spacecraft — or MESSENGER
— now under construction at APL and scheduled for
launch in May 2004. MESSENGER will orbit Mercury for a year
starting in July 2009, snapping pictures and yielding new
scientific information about the innermost planet.
The students, from schools in Montgomery, Prince
George's and Calvert counties, took part in a "press
conference" with MESSENGER scientist Andy Cheng, lead
mechanical engineer Ted Hartka and mission operations
manager Bob Nelson. Later in the day they learned how to
put on a clean-room suit, before getting special replica
"white" suits of their own, received demonstrations of the
Lab's space-environment testing facilities and looked in on
the MESSENGER spacecraft.
— Michael Buckley
For more on the mission, including a live Webcam view of
MESSENGER's assembly, go to
GO TO OCTOBER 20,
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